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In a photo taken Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Bayonne, N.J., Lenny Sciascia, left, and Mario DeAngelis check if the lines have changed on the sporting events Sciascia just placed bets on while grabbing coffee at a gas station before heading back to his home in Staten Island, N.Y. Sciascia commutes regularly to places his bets from New Jersey, where online betting is legal. With sports betting being advertised all around them but the opportunity to actually do it restricted to just one nearby state, gamblers from New York and Pennsylvania are crossing bridges and tunnels into New Jersey to make legal sports bets. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — In the time it takes for a red light to turn green, Leonard Sciascia can get his sports bets made, turn around and head home.

The 39-year-old man from New York City's Staten Island runs his own business selling advice on which teams to bet on. But when he wants to take his own advice, he needs to leave home and cross the border into New Jersey — the only place near him where sports betting is legal.

He drives across the Bayonne Bridge, stops at the first traffic light, logs in to his mobile betting account with, make his bets, turns around and drives back home. The whole process takes 25 minutes, door to door. He considers the $6.50 toll part of the price of doing business.

"I'm looking at (betting) lines all day," Sciascia said. "If I see something I like, I jump in my car and go."

Sports betting is all over the New York area - on the airwaves, billboards, train station ads and publications. But in order to actually place a legal sports bet, gamblers have to be within New Jersey's borders. It's the only game in, or rather near, town right now for people in New York and Pennsylvania who want to bet for the Philadelphia Eagles, against the New York Giants, or a thousand other options.

So they travel into New Jersey.

Some drive across bridges, or through tunnels. Some take a PATH train under the Hudson River from New York City into Jersey City or Hoboken. And some even ride their bicycles just over halfway across the George Washington Bridge, hoping the geolocation technology on their smartphones will realize they're in New Jersey, however briefly it might be.

And it's all perfectly legal, as long as they are physically in New Jersey. They can bet in person at most Atlantic City casinos, as well as at racetracks in East Rutherford and Oceanport, New Jersey. Or they can bet anywhere in the state on their mobile devices.

FanDuel says 9 percent of its sports book customers live in New York and 4 percent live in Pennsylvania.

DraftKings has a similar breakdown, and says about 10 percent of its active customers visit New Jersey from other states to place bets.

West Virginia, which also started sports betting this year, has similar situations. To place bets, people have to physically be in the state, so it too draws people from across state lines.


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